The 10-minute rule in movies states that a movie should hook the viewer in 10 minutes. Video games require a greater investment than movies in terms of both time and money. How do we convince players that they have invested wisely?
Leanne C. Taylor explores ways that games go about hooking players Many offer an opening cinematic episode as well as tutorial gameplay to entice players. By the time players have finished the first objective, they have a pretty good idea of the what the game is about.
Taylor argues that successful games tend to leave the player asking one of three questions (or some combination thereof) at the end of the introduction:
- What has happened? (History)
- What's happening now? (Mystery)
- What's going to happen? (Story)
Though she does acknowledge the importance of gameplay in a brief sentence, I think it's worth noting that when she says "successful," what she means is "narratively successful." Certainly, Rock Band doesn't grip me with it's opening cinematic; I’m initially drawn to it because the controller looks like a drum set and gives me a very good idea of what the gameplay will be about.
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